Skip to Content

### Fulfilling My Dream: Affordable Living in Paris

  • Sage VanAlstine, a 25-year-old individual, relocated from a small city in the United States to Paris upon completing her college education in 2022.
  • She has been pleasantly surprised by the affordability of living in Paris compared to similar locations in America.
  • Despite the misconception of higher living costs, she finds that she can enjoy superior quality food and beverages at a comparable price to what she would pay in the US.

The following account, narrated by Sage VanAlstine, aged 23, details her journey from Okemos, Michigan, a town of 25,000 residents near Lansing, to Paris for a marketing job post-graduation. The conversation has been condensed for brevity and clarity.

Honestly, no one expressed astonishment.

I was always the girl who adored Paris-themed birthday celebrations and returned from studying abroad proclaiming, “Study abroad has transformed my life.”

While I’ve explored various countries I’d love to reside in and experience, France—specifically Paris—has always held my heart.

My mother, a French teacher who coincidentally taught me French in eighth grade, ignited my passion for the language and culture.

My initial visit at the age of 11, facilitated by family friends residing in France, solidified my desire to live here.

The idea of living in Paris was a lifelong aspiration, though I initially deemed it unattainable. As the possibility materialized, my resolve to make it a reality strengthened.

Transitioning from a Study Abroad Experience to Permanent Residency

Hailing from Okemos, Michigan—a quaint town adjacent to Lansing, the state capital—I spent most of my formative years there. Subsequently, I attended Michigan State University in East Lansing, a stone’s throw away from Okemos. Given the proximity of my parents’ residence to the Okemos-East Lansing border, my college choice kept me close to home.

Following my freshman year, I embarked on a two-month study abroad program in Tours, France, nestled in the Loire Valley. Unlike my peers who opted for larger cities, this immersion into French culture provided a unique experience.

Upon concluding my study abroad stint, the decision to relocate became crystal clear. A chance encounter with my current best friend during the program solidified our pact to move to Paris post-graduation, despite the uncertainties.

Securing an internship between my junior and senior years, I spent three months in Paris. The experience fueled my determination to return post-graduation, armed with internship exposure, job prospects, and an expanding network in the city.

Having graduated in early May 2022, I wasted no time and transitioned to Paris within weeks.

Surprising Affordability of Parisian Living

Many friends expressed disbelief at my decision to make such a significant leap, anticipating overwhelming anxiety on my part. While apprehension was inevitable, my prior visits and internship experiences in Paris fostered a sense of familiarity and comfort. This familiarity made Paris a more welcoming prospect compared to New York, a city unknown to me.

Originating from a small town, I braced myself for the anticipated spike in living costs upon moving. Tales of exorbitant New York prices from my boyfriend, who had already relocated, primed me for a budgeting challenge.

Contrary to expectations, upon arrival, I was pleasantly surprised by the comparable prices between Paris and my Michigan hometown. While price differentials exist based on location—proximity to landmarks like the Eiffel Tower significantly impacting costs—I found affordable options with diligent search.

Renting a studio in the 10th arrondissement mirrors the expenses of my university campus apartment back home. The rental range in East Lansing, between \(600 and \)1,200, aligns with the 800 to 1,200 euros (\(868 to \)1,302) I pay for a comfortable studio in Paris.

Dining out in Paris offers a spectrum of choices, catering to various budgets. Opting for eateries away from tourist hubs presents reasonably priced meals, akin to what I’d pay back in Michigan. The cost disparity is most notable in wine prices, with Paris offering quality bottles at surprisingly lower rates.

Akin to dining expenses, the quality-to-price ratio extends to beverages. Enjoying a well-crafted cocktail in Paris for around 10 euros (\(11) surpasses the value compared to mediocre \)10 college bar cocktails in Michigan.

Embracing Parisian Lifestyle and Diverse Offerings

Paris’s architectural splendor never fails to captivate me, a constant reminder of my fortune to reside in this beautiful city.

The city’s plethora of activities ensures perpetual engagement, from exploring museums to sampling diverse cuisines. The spontaneity of Paris allows for serendipitous discoveries, be it stumbling upon a quaint restaurant or stumbling upon a cultural event.

My culinary adventures in Paris extend beyond French cuisine, encompassing a global gastronomic journey. While my fondness for American Mexican food poses limitations, Paris’s international flair compensates by offering familiar tastes and experiences.

Paris’s cosmopolitan nature facilitates encounters with fellow Americans, fostering a sense of community amidst a foreign backdrop.

Despite minor inconveniences typical of city living, such as rodent sightings, my unwavering desire to reside in Paris eclipses any drawbacks.